Markets

US demand for coal to generate electricity will keep falling in the coming months, federal officials said Thursday. This is despite President Trump’s efforts to shore up the struggling industry. Renewable energy sources including wind, solar and hydropower are expected to fill much of the gap left by coal's decline, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, natural gas is expected to remain the fuel of choice for power generation with an expected 40% share of US markets this summer.

China’s switch from coal to gas, to de-carbonise its energy mix and tackle pollution under its Blue Sky policy, requires importing considerably more gas imports and investment in related infrastructure, DNV GL said in a report. Gas currently accounts for only 7% of China’s energy mix, compared to a global average of 22% – but the Chinese government aims to boost that share to 10% by 2020, and as much as 15% by 2030.

This week, the UK’s National Grid claimed it had produced electricity without using coal for seven days. The UK pioneered the use of coal-fired power stations back in the 1880s and became a prolific user of coal as well as a major exporter, which lasted for nearly a century. “As more and more renewables come onto our energy system, coal-free runs like this are going to be a regular occurrence," said Fintan Slye, director of National Grid Group’s Electricity System Operator.

Siemens is to spin-off its Gas and Power (GP) division as part of the next phase in its ‘Vision 2020+’ plan. The plan involves creating a major new player in the energy market with a business volume of €30 billion and over 80,000 employees through the spin-off and the transfer of Siemens’ SGRE stake.

With a wave of coal-fired power plant closures in Alberta, Canada over the next several years, natural gas demand in the province is projected to surge. Alberta has told power companies to shut all coal-fired facilities by 2030.

Britain’s energy needs may be entirely covered by non-fossil fuels for short periods starting from 2025, National Grid said, stressing it aims to be “zero-carbon capable” by then. To achieve this goal, flywheels and supercharged capacitator technology need to be deployed to ensure the grid has the necessary resilience, known as inertia.

Occidental Petroleum has sweetened its buyout bid for Anadarko, now offering 78% cash and 22% stock rather than a 50:50 split, in an effort to outbid Chevron. Anadarko reacted by stressing the Chevron Merger Agreement is still valid, but analysts reckon the revised terms and Occidental’s pledge to sell Anadarko’s Mozambique LNG stake to Total could force Chevron to improve its offer.

NRG Energy’s latest quarterly earnings came in at $0.34 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, just below analysts’ estimate of $0.39. During the second quarter of 2019, the utility accumulated revenues of $2.17 billion, up 4.8% compared to the same quarter last year. Return on equity was 129.32% that quarter, resulting in a net margin of 2.58%.

The French oil major Total has announced plans to invest between $1.5 billion and $2 billion per year on low-carbon power sources in a strategic shift to the retail energy sector. CEO Patrick Pouyanne said the Group’s target of 7 million retail energy clients in France and Belgium, equaling about 15% of the market, would be achievable before 2022.

Neonenergia, a Brazilian electric utility with 4.5 GW installed capacity and majority-held by Iberdrola, has started a second attempt for an IPO after it had to call off an effort to get listed on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange in 2017. Iberdrola shareholders now hope for higher price in the IPO, based on Neonenergia’s improved results since its merger with Elektro.

Although the owners of three new Dutch coal power stations – ENGIE, RWE and Uniper – are burdened with around €4 billion in losses due to market headwinds and a mandated coal phase-out, only ENGIE has chosen to divested its assets. RWE and Uniper, in contrast, seek compensation for shutting down their plants which risks delaying the shift to clean energy in the Netherlands.

JERA, the world’s largest LNG buyer and owner of half of Japan’s power generating capacity, has pledged to reduce its reliance on coal power faster than the government’s official target. The aim is to scale down the contribution of coal in Japan’s energy mix from 33% in 2016 to less than 26% by 2030.

The Finish marine and energy technology company Wärtsilä has posted an 8% growth in net sales to €1,151 million for the period from January to March 2019, and a 6% rise in order intake to € 1,416 million. “Demand improved in the gas carrier segment but despite this positive development, reduced activity in the energy markets resulted in a decline in group order intake,” Wärtsilä CEO Jaakko Eskola said.

Energy trade between Mexico and the United States has undergone massive change. The value of U.S. exports of petroleum products nearly tripled from $10.4 billion in 2008 to a record high of $30.5 billion in 2018, while U.S. energy imports from Mexico stayed a near record low of $15.8 billion for a second year in a row.

The U.S.-based Fortune 500 power company AES Corp is divesting its interests in six power plants in Jordan and the United Kingdom for a total of $211 million. Andrés Gluski, AES’ President and CEO said the company decided to cut back the number of countries in which it operates and will shift its focus to renewables, energy storage and LNG.

Page 8 of 154

News in Brief

Tohoku Electric tenders for LNG cargo

Aug 19 – Tohoku Electric Power, the fourth-largest electric utility in Japan in terms of revenue behind Tepco, Kepco and Chubu, is understood to be seeking an LNG cargo for delivery in September. A tender process is ongoing.

Cost for decarbonizing industry tops $21tr

Aug 16 – Total costs to fully decarbonize the four most polluting industries – cement, steel, ammonia and ethylene – are estimated to amount to $21 trillion between today and 2050. McKinsey said this could be lowered to about $11 trillion if zero-carbon electricity prices come down further compared to fossil fuel prices. In this event, industry could switch to using electricity for heating processes.

Co-firing Braskem plant with hydrogen

Aug 15 – Siemens is making fossil energy greener at the Braskem onsite power plant in Brazil. In this modernization project two SGT-600 gas turbines are co-fired up to 60% with hydrogen, enhancing efficiency for the production process of the adjacent the petrochemical complex.

Canada's CO2 tax to hit CCGTs

Aug 5 – Change in Canada’s carbon emissions tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could significantly lower the profitability of gas generation and could prompt SaskPower reconsider its planned Moose Jaw gas power station.

GE CFO steps down

Aug 2 – Jamie S. Miller, General Electric’s chief financial officer, has decided to quit after two years in the job and 11 years with the company. Having overseen GE’s fiscal activities during a period of intense restructuring, Miller will remain in office while the GE board is looking for a successor.

Siemens HR boss quits

Aug 1 – Janina Kugel, Siemens chief HR officer, is leaving the company amid an apparently scattered working relationship and stark personal differences with CEO Joe Kaeser. Her contract will expire by mutual agreement on January 31, 2020.

ABB standardizes eBus chargers

July 31 – Zurich-based ABB, a member of the ASSURED consortium, is working on standardizing the specifications for automatic charging of heavy vehicles. The aim is to drive down the total cost of ownership for electric fleet operators, helping increase adoption of eBuses and eTrucks. Conformance and interoperability tests will be carried out in Q4-2019.

U.S. Senate helps fund EV charging stations

July 30 – The need for expanded electric vehicle charging infrastructure is greater than expected given that there had been over 1.75 million electric vehicles (EV) in North America at the end of 2018, a nearly 60% increase from the previous year. To help fund additional charging stations, among other things, the U.S. Senate approved the $287 billion America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA).

PNOC, Lloyds to develop merchant LNG-to-Power projects

July 29 – Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lloyds Energy to develop a 1,200 MW LNG-fuelled power plant in partnership with Mitsubishi. Dubai-based Lloyds Energy is looking at ways to develop integrated LNG import facilities and gas power plants on a merchant basis in Bataan and Batangas provinces.

Macquarie finances CCGT in Mexico

July 26 – Macquarie Capital has chosen Credit Agricole, Natixis and SMBC to co-finance a $380 million combined-cycle gas power plant. The 560 MW plant is designated to be built in San Louis Potosi, a city in central Mexico.

Naturgy cashes in on gas network

July 25 – Spanish gas utility Naturgy has posted a 7% rise in core earnings for the first half of the year due to strong gains from its gas network business that helped offset falling revenues from power generation and slimmer LNG margins.

French court rejects appeal against Total CCGT

July 24 – Judges at an appeal court in Nantes have thrown out an appeal by environmentalist against Total’s planned Landivisiau combined-cycle gas power plant in Brittany. The 440 MW project, initiated by Direct Energy which was since acquired by Total, is over two years behind schedule. The French grid operator RTE has singled out the Landivisiau CCGT as “critical” in guaranteeing supply security in winter 2020/21 due to the planned shutdown of four coal power plants.

U.S. gas production falls in wake of ‘Barry’

July 23 – Shut-ins related to Hurricane Barry have scaled back U.S. gas production by 1.6 billion cubic feet per day, compared to last week, while power sector gas demand rose by just over 2.0 bcf/d. Consequently, there is significantly less gas available for storage so the injection rate has halved, according to Energy Aspects figures.

Blackout after fire at Madison substation

July 22 – Electricity is gradually being restored at Madison, Wisconsin, after 13,000 people experience a blackout following an explosion at a substation near Madison Gas & Electric’s 100 MW gas-fired Blount Generating Station. No injuries were reported.

Fuel switch could abate 1.2bn tons of CO2

July 19 – Some 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 could be abated by switching to gas using existing infrastructure, if prices and regulation are supportive. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this would be enough to bring global CO2 emissions back down to where they were in 2013.

IEA launches methane tracker

July 18 – A new ‘methane tracker’, launched by the International Energy Agency (IEA), provides up-to-date estimates of current oil and gas methane emissions by drawing on the best available data. Analysts stressed methane emissions could be reduced by nearly half at no net cost.

Canada’s CO2 tax also affects gas power

July 17 – Change in Canada’s carbon tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could cause SaskPower to reconsider its planned upcoming Moose Jaw gas power station.